What is one supposed to do on an early summer Sunday evening in Baltimore when the Orioles are out town? Well, this weekend the answer is obvious: check out one of the hottest indie pop acts touring right now.
With their October 2011 six song mini-album Nightlife (my famously controversial pick for best release of 2011), the indie electronica/pop group Phantogram offered up a dark, moody record full of bassline-driven, slow, full body rockers, characterized by ethereal vocals and remarkable restraint. On stage, lead songwriter and guitarist Josh Carter is a study in cool as his calm, intense, focus on his guitar playing makes it seem as if he travels into his own world, a world full of fantastic beats and slow, groovy rhythms. By contrast, lead singer and synth player Sarah Barthel sways and gyrates in a slow yet evocative way that hints at energy, barely held back, coming to a boil just beneath the surface. The duo is joined on tour by Tim Oakley, whose drums are key to enlivening the group’s trip hop-influenced sound. Phantogram’s records flirt with dreamy minimalism, but performed live, the songs take on an intensity that never fail to get a crowd bouncing and grooving along.
Check out the video for "When I'm Small" below, and then once you are convinced of the awesomeness, go pick up your tickets for the show TONIGHT at Rams Head Live in Baltimore.